The government has revealed its legislative goals for the next Parliament in the Queen’s Speech.
Here’s a summary of the key bills affecting businesses.
The Enterprise Bill is designed to support business growth by cutting regulation, solving business disputes and reforming the business rates system.
The bill will:
- cut at least £10 billion of regulations over the next 5 years
- increase the transparency of regulators
- set up a Small Business Conciliation Service to help resolve dispute between businesses
- allow business ratepayers to launch appeals at the Valuation Tribunal.
Commenting on the Enterprise Bill, Katja Hall, deputy director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said:
“Pruning unnecessary red tape from Westminster and Brussels will give firms bursting with potential – especially small and medium-sized ones – the space to grow and thrive.
“We want to see more details on how the Small Business Conciliation Service will work in practice. We believe customers and suppliers should deal directly to reach agreement wherever possible.”
National Insurance Contributions/Finance Bill
The government will adhere to its pre-election pledge and will legislate for a 5-year freeze on income tax, national insurance and VAT increases.
Commenting on the National Insurance Bill, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, criticised the tax freezes:
“Freezing income tax, along with some other major taxes for the next 5 years, would leave the government with little wiggle room, particularly if economic circumstances were to change. This has the hallmark of posturing, not planning.”
Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill
The Full Employment Bill aims to encourage people to work by reforming the welfare system and promoting the growth of apprenticeships.
Commenting on the Full Employment Bill, John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, called on the government to do more to support the development of apprenticeships:
“The issue is not only about the number of apprentices.
“The aim must be to make our apprentice system the world’s best, matching in quality to that offered in Germany, and offering a rewarding vocational alternative to academic routes.”